There are currently over 92,000 Children in Care in the UK. The term ‘Children In Care”(CIC) is generally used to mean those children who are looked after by the state. This includes those who are subject to a care order or temporarily classed as looked after on a planned basis for short breaks or respite care. The term is also used to describe ‘accommodated’ children and young people who are looked after on a voluntary basis at the request of, or by agreement with, their parents. These children are referred to as "children in care".
More than half of children are taken into care because of abuse or neglect
(Source: NPSCC. Children in care. Statistics. Accessed 25 March 2015)
CiC have the same health risks as their peers but the extent is often exacerbated due to their previous experiences. Children’s early experiences have a significant impact on their development and future life chances. Children in Care show significantly higher rates of mental health issues, emotional disorders such as anxiety and depression, hyperactivity and autistic spectrum disorder conditions. It is therefore vital that our focus is on improving the outcomes for this group of vulnerable children and young people.
When children enter care, they are offered a statutory Initial Health Assessment (IHA) with a local paediatrician or GP. Children already in care are offered a statutory Review Health Assessment (RHA) by the child’s Health Visitor or specialist Children in Care nurse (6 monthly for children under the age of 5 years and annually for those aged 5 to 18 years).
An Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC) is defined by the Home Office as a young person under the age of 18 making an application for asylum in his or her own right and who "has no adult relative or guardian to turn to in this country". These young people may have arrived in the UK by themselves or with an adult who later abandoned them or who does not present as suitable carer or guardian.
UASC are supported within the framework of the Children Act 1989 and this should be guided by the principle that they are "children first and foremost". Following an initial age assessment, a young person judged to be under 18 years of age, is entitled to the same rights as other children and young people in care, including accommodation, some finance, education, statutory health assessments, support and reviews.
Research shows that the adversities affecting many unaccompanied young people include traumatic experiences as part of their flight, as well as separation from or loss of family members, and that an increasing number fall victim to international trafficking for exploitative purposes. Unaccompanied children have significant physical and mental health needs relating to communicable (infectious) Diseases (e.g. Tuberculosis screening and vaccination), dental health, nutrition (e.g. anaemia), sexual and reproductive health and post traumatic stress disorder. It is therefore vital that their health needs are assessed and met in a timely manner.
The role of the Designated Nurse and Designated Doctor for Children In Care focuses on improving outcomes, quality and safety for the most vulnerable children across the healthcare services that the CCGs commission by:
Safeguarding Children Designated Professionals Team